Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Trial Victory Number 10 - A Win Against A Truly Crazy Defendant

Trial Number 10 has resulted in a win after a two day trial against a bug-house nuts pro-per defendant, and I don't use the term nuts lightly.

This defendant had her condo foreclosed on her by the condo association after failing to pay any condo dues for the past three years. She's also terrified the neighbors and is absolutely convinced that they are members of the mafia and are secretly breaking into her attic to spy on her.

Did I mention she's nuts?

She also threatened to kill my process server and has claimed she's going to go out and buy a gun. Great, I'm so looking forward to this trial. I've got the facts and law on my side, she's got the crazy.

On the first day of trial, we were required to talk outside of the courtroom to attempt to resolve the matter before going to the judge. She was interesting to watch - one minute seemingly sane and rational, the next going on about this great conspiracy and all the important people she knows who will intervene on her behalf and destroy the condominium association, the law firm, me, the process server, etc. Amazingly long diatribes that the judge just won't shut down even as she sustains my objections.

On the second day, she gets even more aggressive, yelling at me in front of the court clerks and other people at the front desk, claiming among other things that she's going to file a complaint with the bar association and she'll get us, and then jabs her finger at my face twice, the second time leaving it up there.

I tell her to get her finger out of my face and back off.

Surprisingly, she does so.

It seems like I actually have a reasonable command voice when necessary.

Throughout the trial she makes a big show, alternately being calm and rational, then crying, then shouting and back and forth like a switch through all these stages. She tries to have totally irrelevant documents admitted and also pulls out a quitclaim deed she made and recorded transferring the condo to her "trust", claiming it now can't be foreclosed.

One little problem with that strategy is that she filed this transfer after the Sheriff's foreclosure sale and as such the only thing she transferred (assuming this mythical trust even existed) was her redemption rights which she waived when she didn't pay the outstanding condo assessments that equaled the amount in the sheriffs deed during the six month redemption period.

It was a nice try but it didn't work.

She continually tries to name drop to the judge and claim she can't be foreclosed on and that she got a 1099C from her mortgage company canceling her mortgage. Which of course means nothing. In other words, she hasn't paid a dime to live there for 3 years now, at the expense of other condo residents that have to pay more in order to make up for he failing to do so.

At times she states she loves the condo.

She admits she hasn't paid a condo assessment in over 3 years and hasn't paid her property taxes in the last three years either, with the result that not only did the association foreclose on it but the county has also foreclosed on the condo.

She doesn't have a mortgage and can't pay less than $300 a month in condo dues and property taxes? Heck all she had to do to redeem it was pay a few thousand dollars and she could have got that before the foreclosure by putting a mortgage on her place. While the condo isn't worth much, it is worth much more than the few thousand she owes.

Did I mention she also dresses to the nines and has very expensive stuff yet won't pay for what she claims is her prized home?

So much for loving her condo.

Unfortunately, the judge bends over backwards, giving her plenty of leeway to make wild and crazy conspiracy accusations even as she admits she has no factual defense and admits she didn't pay and was properly served with all the required documents. This turns a half day trial into a two day affair.

She also continually goes on about how she's a "shark on land", which doesn't make a heckuva lot of sense. She also continually states how she is just so smart and sophisticated.

After two days, including my presentation of rebuttal witnesses to exhaustively enter into evidence every step of the foreclosure so that there is no question it was properly performed, the judge rules in our favor.

Given the judge's demeanor and the insanity of the defendant I don't just prove my case by the preponderance of the evidence which is the standard I must meet, instead I prove the foreclosure was proper by clear and convincing evidence, demolishing all frivolous claims to the contrary.

The judge finds in my favor granting me my 10th straight trial victory and preserving my perfect record.

Our insane defendant doesn't take this well, claiming she's not through, she's a shark on land, and we'll never see it coming. Great.

Unfortunately, the judge, instead of just giving her 10 days to move out as required by statute gives her 30 days after coaching her to ask for more time.


I know the judge wants her leaving the courtroom happy with her and identifying with her as a friend rather than a foe for giving her more time. Still, after the judicially-inspired delays already in the case and the fact she's been living rent free for 3 years and all her carrying-on at trial it is a little frustrating.

On top of that extra time, the judge had already giving her an initial extra 3 week adjournment from the initial trial date so she could try to get a lawyer. Just like the offer of more time to move, the judge had again offered it to her sua sponte rather than waiting for her to bring it up. Of course she didn't really plan on doing so but certainly took the judge's suggestion to play for more time.

I half expect she will file a frivolous appeal to try and stall for even more time.

The joy of dealing with insane pro per defendants.....


Murphy's Law said...

If the doorbell rings, ask who it is before opening.
If you hear someone say: Candygram"...

Keads said...


Aaron said...

Yeah, I only open the door for Dolphins.